I-69 Tree-sitters facing eviction NOW, support needed!
Individuals opposing construction of Interstate 69, the NAFTA Superhighway, have been perched in treetops in the path of construction for a month. They are now facing eviction, but the fight continues.
Starting May 20, individuals protesting the construction of Interstate 69 through Southern Indiana have occupied trees in the path of construction. What began with a handful of individuals has turned into a focal point for resistance to the highway, with a small tree village and a large camp on the ground.
At 5:30 AM, Indiana State Police showed up en masse, forced ground support to leave, and began sending climbers up to evict the two individuals occupying the trees. As of this moment, three people have been arrested trying to reach the sit, one sitter has been arrested, and everyone driving close to the sit is being detained.
The last sitter will probably be arrested soon, and the sit and camp destroyed, but this is only the beginning of land-based resistance to the construction of Interstate 69. Resistance will continue, but at the moment, we need your support. Please consider donating to the campaign, flooding Indiana's Governor's office with calls, or organizing solidarity actions in your own communities.
They may have won this battle, but we will never let them build this road. Here's how you can help:
*Call any or all of the following people and offices responsible for the construction of I-69:
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels: 317. 232.1198
INDOT--State office: 37.232.5319
INDOT--District Office: 812.895.7301
Gohmann Asphalt & Construction: 812-282-1349
*Target local branches of companies involved in construction: Michael Baker Corporation is involved in planning section 5 of the highway, and has offices around the country. You can find all of their locations here: http://www.mbakercorp.com/index.php?option=com_google_maps&Itemid=139
*Come to Southern Indiana to help out in person!
The construction of this highway is necessary for the expansion of neoliberal capitalism throughout the Americas; ceasing construction will not only protect forests, wetlands, and farms, but will also deal a direct blow to infrastructure needed for the continued expansion of free trade. This struggle is fought in solidarity with communities south of the border fighting infrastructure projects that threaten to evict and destroy communities there.
What is I-69?
I-69 is a NAFTA superhighway, already constructed from Canada to Indianapolis and projected to extend down into Mexico. This highway is intended for the mass transportation of goods and resources, to further exploit workers and the land, and to lessen companies' accountability in terms of human and environmental rights. In 2008, they intend to begin construction of this road through southwestern Indiana, evicting hundreds of rural families, destroying hundreds of acres of land, and devastating the habitats of countless species of animals, many of them already endangered.
1) The new road in Indiana, in the latest estimate(April 2007), will cost over $3.5 billion, a price which will only go up with the rising cost of oil.
2) The state currently has only $750 million earmarked for I-69 construction, a fact that leads many to the conclusion that the state will reinstate the idea
of a toll road.
3) Over 400 families will be evicted from their homes along the 142 miles route in Indiana alone (this number excludes families evicted in other states).
4) 7 ,000 acres of land will be paved over by construction of the new-terrain I-69 and related development: 5,300 acres of farmland, 1,510 acres of forestland,
and 95 acres of wetlands. At least 400 acres of land containing karst features (caves, sinkholes, underground streams) will be damaged or disturbed.
5) The Dept. of Transportation's own study shows that over 70% of people in Indiana oppose the new road, while an independent study places that
number in the 90's, yet the governor is still pushing the project. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2008.
6) The proposed I-69 route in southwest Indiana will only save 10-14 minutes on a trip to Indianapolis in comparison to current routes.
7) The proposed highway, being part of a huge free trade infrastructure plan, will bring thousands of new trucks and cars through southwest Indiana each
day, further increasing air, land, and water pollution in an already heavily polluted region.
8) I-69 cannot bring big industry to southwest Indiana, as its supporters claim, because most counties in the area are already in non-attainment of Federal
Clean Air Act laws. There's no guarantee of distribution centers either, because hundreds of other cities along the route provide lucrative locations.
9) I-69 already exists from the Michigan/Canada border to Indianapolis, and serves as a major artery for international free trade between the U.S. and
10) I-69 is part of the "NAFTA Superhighway" plan, which includes similar infrastructure projects in South America (IIRSA), Central America and
Mexico (Plan Puebla-Panama), and Canada (Atlantica). It is meant to provide multi-national corporations a more cost-effective way to move goods and
capital throughout each country, not to mention allowing them to cheaply exploit the natural resources of Latin America.
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